Big Fat Facts Big Fat Index

Talking about the role of Shame...

A wise and thought provoking talk (suffering from a single unfortunate headless fattie).

Merry Christmas, Everyone!


Shame, shame, shame | Mediator: Redux/Fen-Phen à la France

Lillian's picture
Lillian
December 24th, 2010 | Link | Happy Christmas

It's a wonderful video. Thanks.

Viola's picture
Viola
December 24th, 2010 | Link | I thought it was going to be

I thought it was going to be a photo of Santa, sans head. Laughing out loud

I don't really feel like my obesity is an attempt at numbing my vulnerability, however.

chondros December 24th, 2010 | Link | I'm not sure I agree with

I'm not sure I agree with this either. I don't think I'm fat because I'm trying to numb anything. The woman in this video comes awfully close to saying that being fat is a physical manifestation of emotional problems.

There's definitely some good stuff there, though.

Merry Christmas to all!

Darkazaeda's picture
Darkazaeda
December 24th, 2010 | Link | Every one of us who is not

Every one of us who is not within the societal norms takes risks and is vulnerable just by stepping outside our doors. I think most of us are living 'whole heartedly' w/o realizing it.

Tehomet February 6th, 2011 | Link | That's deep. I love it.

That's deep. I love it. Smiling

diane December 24th, 2010 | Link | This is one of those

This is one of those lectures that sounds really good until you deconstruct it. I'm not saying there were not good points for everyone--although she clearly feels fat people are medicating themselves like alcoholics and drug addicts. So massive fail there! I wonder---her focus on those who live "wholeheartedly", (clearly in her world the nut-muffin "obese" people are not included), I did not hear her mention Privilege.

Perhaps all those wholehearted people are the ones swiming in privilege that gives them the confidence and comfortability to show affection and risk rejection--in essense be vulnerable. They don't have to worry that their rejection (if any) will come with being verbally or physically abused just for going about trying to live their lives. Unexamined privilege is not courage, not by any means, not by my measuring stick.

My own storytelling research gathered from my own observations have been that a lot of fat people and anyone who is othered and marginalized in our Society and Culture, are some of the most open beings with great capacity for empathy. They are the ones who are truly vulnerable and show great courage. Courage every time they walk out the freakin door and face open hostility every second of every day of their lives. THAT's COURAGE! Now again, perhaps she did take all that into account, but by her nut-muffin "obese" comment, I'm thinkin no, she didn't. That's not good enough for me, but then I'm surrounded, at least online, by people who are advanced on social justice blogs. So that could be the difference right there, or maybe not. I think the overall message she has is a good one but there is a lot of fail there too.

DeeLeigh's picture
DeeLeigh
December 25th, 2010 | Link | I liked her ideas about

I liked her ideas about building connections, accepting vulnerability and (in effect) taking risks to build relationships. Darkazaeda's right, to some extent fat people make ourselves vulnerable just by being visible. But, I think that can actually make us build up our defenses even more than we would otherwise.

Definitely the idea that "fat people are medicating themselves like alcoholics and drug addicts" (as Diane says) is a massive fail. However, the woman is fat herself - it's very possible that her BMI is in the obese range. I felt like she was mindlessly repeating a cultural meme about fatness - and she should know better. Does she believe that she uses food like a drug, or was she only talking about headless-fatty-sized people and letting herself off the hook? Yeah, very problematic.

moxie3's picture
moxie3
December 26th, 2010 | Link | I enjoyed it, thanks!

I enjoyed it, thanks!

Tobysgirl December 26th, 2010 | Link | I'm sorry, I got bored

I'm sorry, I got bored really quickly. I'm not much for talking about connection. To steal her comment about shame, the more people talk about connection, in my experience, the less connected they are.

DeeLeigh's picture
DeeLeigh
December 27th, 2010 | Link | Hum. That's an interesting

To steal her comment about shame, the more people talk about connection, in my experience, the less connected they are.

Hum. That's an interesting comment. It seems to me that if someone wants to strengthen their friendships and family connections and make new friends, then yeah - they would think and probably talk about how to do so. But, you seem to be implying (by your use of "shame") that that's a bad thing; perhaps that it's something that should happen automatically, without thought or discussion? Or that if someone finds themselves without good social supports, then there's something wrong with them?

There's someone who recently posted in the forums who said that many members of her family had passed away. Also, people may move to new areas or they may find that many of their friends have done so. In fat acceptance, many people may find that they're drifting away from old friends who they bonded with via diet talk and negative body talk. This is very common. Voicing fat acceptance ideas in real life can really make you feel vulnerable, as well. That's why I was so fascinated with the first part of her talk.

There are times when people have to consciously re-build their real-life social networks. It's not something to be ashamed of, and it doesn't happen automatically - especially not for adults who are past university age.

Or, am I misreading your post?

richie79's picture
richie79
December 27th, 2010 | Link | I didn't have chance to

I didn't have chance to watch the whole thing, but agree with Deeleigh that she did make some excellent points about shame and the role of connection, before going and spoiling it all with the headless fatty and 'obese' comment. Yep, there's another common example of that 'exaggeration' element of the panic I was talking about a couple of weeks ago - including 'obesity' within long lists of other, more acknowledged social problems, and in doing so giving it an undeserved parity of importance with street crime (David Cameron), climate change (Alan Johnson), child abuse (Tam Fry) terrorism (David Hunter), the Black Death (Rhodri Morgan) or in this case, substance misuse. As a sociologist, she should try to keep her knowledge a little more current - since along with gender studies, it is from within that discipline that most of the current groundswell of academic opposition to the 'epi-panic' model is originating.

"What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right" - Albert Einstein

CarrieP's picture
CarrieP
January 4th, 2011 | Link | The banana nut muffin

The banana nut muffin comment really resonated with me because I do eat to make myself feel better on a fairly regular basis. The mistake she made was in conflating that behavior with fatness, as it is not limited to fat people nor is it shared by all fatties. So that's problematic. I did think there was a lot of value in the rest of what she was saying, that we shut out a lot of our life experiences by pushing away vulnerability; that we sometimes react out of fear of being excluded. There's some really good stuff in there.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

© 2000-2020 Big Fat Blog and its authors, all rights reserved. Big Fat Blog, Big Fat Facts, and Big Fat Index are our trademarks.